Defying Gravity, but Not the nearly Purple Haze

By Mark

Last Saturday, my friend Jeff invited me to go flying with him.  I leapt at the opportunity and so we headed up, up and away into the VA and MD skies. 

I learned quite a bit about trying to shoot in a small aircraft.  The first thing that I learned is that there is not a heck of a lot of room for a big lens in a small cockpit.  I wound up taking off my lens hood and really wished I had one of the rubber ones. You will see that not being able to press my lens to the glass means that for some angles, you get to see your own reflection in the image. The second thing which I learned, or at least recognized, is that most plane windows are a little bit tinted, which helps keep the plane cool, but which does add both a tint and reduces the light a bit.  Next, it was very interesting to see the level of haziness that hangs over this region.  Here is an untouched image as we approached Baltimore. 

Baltimore?

Baltimore?

It’s that greasy smear in the left center.  Last week at Adobe Max, they showcased some new technology which may appear in future releases—it is called Dehaze and man, do I wish it was out now. http://prodesigntools.com/adobe-photoshop-defog-dehaze.html  All of these pictures required the clarity slider be pushed almost to the max. 

There are a lot of airway restrictions around this area-which is no surprise. With 3 major airports and the Nation’s Capital they control the air pretty tightly. For some reason they don’t want people flying over the White House???  It was impressive to watch Jeff communicate with all of the ATC zones and not get us shot down.  What is pleasantly surprising though is where you can fly. 

Inner Harbor

Inner Harbor

We headed east and fly right over the inner harbor of Baltimore.  We looped around so I could get shots of both Raven Stadium and Camden Yards. 

Foosebal

Foosebal

Still one of the best fields in baseball

Still one of the best fields in baseball

We then checked to see that “our banner still waved” over Ft. McHenry before heading over to the Eastern Shore of MD.  

Mid day sun, not the dawn's early light at all

Mid day sun, not the dawn's early light at all

We stopped for lunch in Cambridge, MD.  Although I didn’t get a shot-something about whacking Jeff in the head while we were on final, didn’t sound smart; we were accompanied for a little bit by a Bald Eagle.  

One other thing about flying over a city, is that your cell phone keeps looking for the towers, which are all below you.  This eats your battery.  I had been using an app-Motion-X GPS to capture our track.  That stopped at lunch time when I had no power Captain.

Half of our track.  Note the loop around B'allmer

Half of our track.  Note the loop around B'allmer

Flying back we cruised over the picturesque waterfront towns of Oxford and St. Michaels.  Sailboats and powerboats out enjoying a glorious day.  

St. Michaels, MD

St. Michaels, MD

We headed over the Naval Academy in Annapolis and then found the winner of the best house award.  

There a lot of huge, gorgeous, really, really expensive houses out along the water.

Finally we headed back to Leesburg and found the only spot of real turbulence for the day.  It was a blast and we are going to do it again—Maybe even at night.   

Lined up, with a bit of rough air

Lined up, with a bit of rough air

Final approach

Final approach